Gastroenterology

Turn to Montage Health and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for excellent care of your digestive system — including your esophagus, stomach, intestines, gallbladder, liver, and more. You’ll find help to relieve uncomfortable symptoms, so you can worry less about your digestive tract and focus more on enjoying daily life.

When to see a gastroenterologist

A gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in caring for the digestive system. You may benefit from seeing a gastroenterologist if you have symptoms such as:

  • Blood in your stool (poop)
  • Burning feeling in your chest (heartburn) or a bad taste in your mouth after eating
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than a day or two
  • Stomachaches
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain

Your doctor will review your medical history, ask questions, and possibly order tests to find the cause of your symptoms.

Gastrointestinal (GI) tests

Check the health of your digestive tract with tests such as:

  • Breath testing – Analyzes your breath to diagnose digestive problems, including lactose or fructose intolerance or bacterial overgrowth
  • Computed tomography (CT) colonography – Looks for potentially cancerous polyps (lumps) in the large intestine
  • Esophageal pH reflux test – Measures how much stomach acid flows into the esophagus
  • Esophageal manometry – Checks for pressure or movement problems in the esophagus that could make it hard to swallow
  • PillCam® – Gives you a pill containing a tiny camera you swallow to get pictures of your esophagus, small intestine, and colon

Endoscopy

Your care may include an endoscopy at Community Hospital. Before this type of procedure, you’ll receive anesthesia to prevent pain and a sedative to relax you. Then, a doctor inserts an endoscope (thin tube with a light and camera) into your GI tract. The camera shows problems in your digestive system so your doctor can diagnose or treat them.

Endoscopic tests include:

  • Colonoscopy – Screens for colon cancer
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) - Uses an endoscope and X-rays to diagnose and treat conditions in the liver, gallbladder, or pancreas
    • Spyglass cholangioscopy – Examines the bile ducts
  • Endoscopic ultrasound – Uses sound waves to show the digestive tract, allowing your physician to take tissue samples for a biopsy (lab test)
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy – Examines the rectum and part of the colon
  • Small bowel enteroscopy – Looks at the small intestine
  • Upper GI endoscopy, or esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) – Checks the esophagus, stomach, and first part of the small intestine

GI conditions

Rest assured that gastroenterologists on staff at Community Hospital can care for almost any digestive tract problem, including:

  • Acid reflux, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and Barret’s esophagus
  • Cancer, such as esophageal cancer, gastric (stomach) cancer, colorectal cancer, or pancreatic cancer
  • Gallstones
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Infections, including Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Pancreatitis

Treatments for your digestive system

Your doctor may recommend:

  • Biliary endoscopic sphincterotomy – Removes the sphincter muscle between your bile duct and pancreatic duct to pull out gallstones and bile duct stones
  • Dilation and stent placement – Widens a narrowed part of your digestive tract and uses a stent (tiny, flexible tube) to keep it open
  • Electrohydraulic lithotripsy – Uses shock waves to break up stones in the pancreatic and bile ducts
  • Hemorrhoid banding – Places a rubber band around the base of a hemorrhoid to cut off blood flow, causing it to shrink and fall off
  • Pseudocyst drainage – Removes fluid that forms on the pancreas
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) – Treats Barrett’s esophagus and helps prevent esophageal cancer by using heat to destroy unusual tissue
  • Removal of polyps (lumps) in the esophagus, stomach, or intestines

Complete Care

Count on us to recommend and help you access any other health services you may benefit from, such as nutrition counseling or surgery.

Talk to your doctor

Ask your primary care provider for a referral to a gastroenterologist.

Specialized care for kids

If your child has a digestion problem, count on the gastroenterologists on staff at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for high-quality care.

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